Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

Why the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is good for Walt Disney World

There is somewhat of a myth surrounding Disney’s relationship with Universal on the East Coast, with many believing the two theme park operators are fierce rivals in the Central Florida area.

(Photo by Ricky Brigante)

Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact rather than the two being competitors they are actually partners in Orlando-area tourism industry and if one were to shut up shop then there’s no doubt the other would suffer as a consequence.

This summer is set to be a prime example of just how linked the two resorts are after Universal recently opened the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ at their Islands of Adventure Park.

Although the Wizarding World is just one new land in a resort that can boast two world-class theme parks thanks to the strength of the Harry Potter brand the new area is drawing in visitors from all over the world who are looking to enjoy the magic of the Potter universe.

Even if the new Potter land is based at a ‘rival’ park its success is still fantastic for Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and the Orlando tourism industry as a whole as the boy wizard has successfully managed to rejuvenate tourist’s interest in Central Florida at a time when the travel industry has been on its knees.

Many people who regularly visited Walt Disney World felt the need to cut back on their trips due to the recession, not to mention the lucrative long-distance travellers who simply couldn’t afford the increasingly expensive cost of air travel into Orlando.

What The Wizarding World did was give those travellers a reason to return to Central Florida for the first time since the banking crisis which started in 2007. Many who may never have thought about planning an Orlando vacation found it justifiable because of the new Harry Potter land.

Whilst Universal took the credit those around them reaped, and will continue to reap, the rewards.

Despite the new attractions being located on Universal property Disney will no doubt feel the benefits, with many guests who have been lured to Orlando by the Wizarding World booking resort stays on Disney property so they can also visit the mouse whilst on vacation, not to mention the increased numbers walking through the turnstiles.

Disney’s size gives it an advantage in the fact that many will feel a trip to Universal simply isn’t enough for a whole vacation and will instead decide to spend a large amount of time over in the World whilst taking a few days to hop over to Universal, meaning Disney gain huge financial rewards without spending incredible amounts.

Local hoteliers will also benefit from ‘Potter-mania’ as Universal simply doesn’t have the capacity at their resort hotels to deal with the kind of numbers heading to see Harry and the gang. Many will chose to stay at hotels on International Drive, the 192 and other locations around the Orlando area – giving a much-needed boost to the smaller players in the industry.

When Universal Studios first opened Disney took out an ad in the Orlando Sentinel stating ‘Welcome Universal Studios Florida – What’s good for tourism and entertainment is good for Central Florida’ and The Wizarding World is a prime example.



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Star Tours II 3D set for May reopening at Walt Disney World

The new version of Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been given an unofficial Spring opening date.

(photo by Brian Hammond)

The attraction is set to be reopened on the 11th of May 2011 though this date has not yet been made official and is subject to change.

The all-new version of the fan favourite motion simulator ride will feature 3D effects and updated scenes which will feature elements of the most recent movies in the Star Wars franchise.

The attraction in its current form is set to close on September 12th to being the eight month upgrade.

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Summer Nightastic begins at Walt Disney World Resort

Summer Nightastic is set to make its debut at Walt Disney World this weekend.

Photo provided by Loren Javier

The event, which is scheduled to start today and run through to August 14th, features the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade, a special fireworks show and a host of other features aimed at making summer at Walt Disney World more entertaining.

The debut of the Electrical Parade will be at 9pm and 11pm with the Summer Nightastic Fireworks Spectacular taking place in between the two parades at 10pm.

The third major addition brought by the summer event is additions to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which will feature new glow-in-the-dark lighting and a brand new drop sequence.

For more information visit the official Walt Disney World website.

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Free Disney day for all Walt Disney World Marathon runners

Walt Disney World marathon runners are set to get an additional treat in 2011, with each runner gaining a free day at Walt Disney World Resort.

Those who complete the run on January 9th next year will be able to claim their free day at any Walt Disney World theme park by showing their medal at the gate.

The free day will take place the day after the marathon and has been dubbed ‘marathon Monday’.

You can register for the Walt Disney World Marathon and other races on the ESPN Wide World of Sports website, with the price of both the full and half marathons being $135.

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Walt Disney World Food and Wine Festival details announced

The plans for the 2010 Food and Wine Festival at Epcot have been announced today, with the event set to take place from October 1st to November 14th.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the festival which is set to include two new tasting marketplaces from Belgium and South Korea as well as updated menus for Singapore, Argentina, Chile, Poland, South Africa, Australia, Spain and the USA.

The ‘Eat to the beat!’ concert stage will once again take its place in the American Gardens Theatre, with acts such as Sugar Ray, Air Supply, Howard Jones, 38 Special, Roger Hodgson, Hanson and Rick Springfield all performing over the course of the event.

It won’t just be famous musicians making an appearance either, a number of celebrity chefs will also be showing what they can do at the festival with culinary masters such as Warren Brown, Cat Cora, Todd English, Gale Gand, Robert Irvine, Art Smith and Andrew Zimmern all set to take part.

Samples (tapas sized) at the various stalls around the World Showcase will be priced from around $3-$8 with special Disney gift card available which can be recharged at various points around the lagoon.

Authentic Taste seminars and Authors Without Borders programs with special book signings at the Festival Center, Eat to the Beat! concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.

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A look at the all new TouringPlans.com

TouringPlans.com – the website of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World – has been given a makeover this month which makes the already great service even better.

The New TouringPlans.com

The new website is easy to use whether you’re a computer novice or full-on tech geek and ensures that all the great services provided by the site are no more than a few clicks away.

Subscribers can easily access Lines, the crowd calendar and park touring plans directly from the homepage, which is incredibly helpful for those on the move whilst on vacation that need to quickly check out some facts and figures whilst on their trip.

The new site combines a fresh and professional look with an easy to navigate layout that gives the site a quality feel to match that of the unofficial guide itself.

The old TouringPlans.com

The huge collection of data about the parks, hotels and other amenities at Walt Disney World and beyond makes the site a one stop shop for all things Orlando and combined with some of the other great sites out there you’ll have everything you need to plan the perfect WDW vacation.

Check out the Touring Plans site now.

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Boba Fett set to take lead role at Star Wars Weekends

Notorious Bounty Hunter Boba Fett will take the starring role on Disney’s Star Wars Weekends Merchandise according to Robert LaFlamme, the product developer for the event.

In an interview with The Official Disney Parks Blog LaFlamme spoke about where the inspiration came from to include the Star Wars villain in this year’s merchandise.

“Creating this year’s logo art was easy. With ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ celebrating its 30th Anniversary, it made sense to feature one of the most infamous stars from the film, Boba Fett.” said Robert.

“Boba Fett is the ‘most notorious bounty hunter in the galaxy’ – it seemed only right to incorporate Boba Fett into the art to pay homage to such a recognized and notable character from the original Star Wars trilogy.”

“In the past, we have tried to find unique ways to bring Boba Fett into the art for the event. When the opportunity presented itself to use the bounty hunter, I jumped at it.” explained Robert.

The opening Star Wars weekend will take place May 21st through 23rd with the event final weekend taking place June 11th through June 13th.

If you want to stand a chance of getting one of the limited edition T-Shirts, hats and other merchandise featuring the logo be sure to make your way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the event.

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